Ensuring a straight smile for years to come.
A fixed retainer is a thin bonded arch wire typically recommended for long term retention post orthodontic treatment. It is placed on the inside of the upper and lower front teeth to help maintain the new positioning of one’s teeth. Upper and Lower lingual refers to the specific areas of the mouth in which the appliance will be worn. Removable retention appliances are also worn full-time for up to one year following orthodontic treatment unless instructed otherwise or other recommendations are made by one of our experts. The use of retainers is considered a maintenance therapy to allow the new tooth position and bone shape to stabilize and to prevent undesirable relapse or movement. Proper retention helps to ensure that your orthodontic correction provides life-long results.
Even during a state of malocclusion, muscles, teeth, and bone are a functioning harmonious system with memory and a state of equilibrium. As orthodontists approach treatment and adjust tooth position this balance is interrupted to achieve the new proper position and function. As the teeth are moved to the new positions, the bone, periodontal ligaments and surrounding muscles require a significant period of time to achieve a new state of equilibrium or balance, making long term retention necessary for stabilization.
These appliances are usually fabricated out of stainless steel wire which connects to the back surfaces of the front teeth. Our upper and lower fixed retainer wire is bonded to the lingual (tongue side) of the incisors with a small amount of bonding material. This type of retainer provides support and strength to the teeth and eliminates the risk of a tooth moving out of alignment.
If a fixed upper or lower lingual retainer is recommended to a patient by one of our experts post orthodontic treatment, then the patient will have impressions taken to have custom fitted appliance made. Placement of the fixed retainers is a very easy, and they are quite small so the adjustment period is fairly quick. Initially a patient may notice that they can feel the appliance when speaking or swallowing, it just takes some getting used to. Patients will find that everything is will be back to normal within a couple of days.
When it comes to oral hygiene, you will be provided instructions by one of our orthodontists. We, of course want to make sure you are able to floss and brush accordingly to maintain oral health and avoid future dental issues. Family Orthodontics also encourages our patients to clean the appliance thoroughly with toothpaste and a toothbrush every morning, evening and if one has the time to brush midday as well. You will need to spend a few extra minutes to clean the retainer with dental floss as well. It is important to focus a bit more on flossing by threading the floss underneath the appliance at each point of contact. This is advised once a day minimally.
Many individuals believe that once the braces come off, they are in the clear… pun intended. However, since teeth have a tendency to drift over time once the guidance and influence of braces is no longer, wearing a retainer prevents the teeth from moving back into old, incorrect positions. Our orthodontists believe that having two forms of retention is the best way to keep your treatment results. Patients will be provided removable retainers to be worn at night and fixed lingual retainers to keep all front teeth in perfect position. After careful assessment, our orthodontists will provide the proper recommendations and solutions for each patient.
Fixed, bonded appliances provide great retention, but will require a proper home care regimen to ensure that they are cleaned properly. A patient will need to be attentive to proper maintenance and have their retainers checked by their orthodontist or dentist at each six month check up. Occasionally patients will have to consider having the retainers repaired or removed for the following reasons:
- Damage of the retainer (caused by biting into hard foods or even sports injuries)
- Excess build-up of calculus on teeth or plaque along the gum line
- Retainer becomes worn after a long duration of time
Have questions or need any help from our team? Reach out to us below and one of our team members will get in touch with you as soon as we see your request.